Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has been an active angel investor for the past five, six years. With mega fundraising and towering valuation of Paytm, Sharma’s appetite for backing early-stage companies has increased rapidly in the past few years.
In an apparent move to make his personal investments coherent, Sharma along with his wife Mridula Parashar have incorporated two new entities – VSS Investco and VSS Holdings – in early February.
According to regulatory filings, the objectives of both the entities said: “to carry on the business of an investment company and to invest in and acquire or hold securities, shares or debentures in one or more companies and to sell, purchase or otherwise deal in shares, stocks, bonds”.
VSS Investco and VSS Holdings can also partner other firms for carrying out business activities in India and overseas. Filings show that besides Sharma, Parashar is the only other director in the two investment firms.
As of now, Sharma has put in Rs 8.5 crore in VSS Investco while VSS Holdings saw an infusion of Rs 54 lakh. Sharma has also made an investment of Rs 51 lakh in Paytm General insurance through VSS Holdings, shows a separate filing.
Paytm and Sharma declined to comment for this story.
Importantly, the address of an office in South Delhi used for registering both the entities is leased by One97 Communication, the parent entity of Paytm, Paytm Mall and Paytm Money.
So far, Sharma has backed over several dozen companies in his personal capacity including Unacademy, Innov8, Milaap, The Ken and Factordaily.
Apart from making individual bets, Sharma also joined limited partners in Roots Ventures’ maiden fund and Arkam Ventures (formerly Unitary Helion). He along with Binny Bansal invested in a venture capital fund founded by Helion Venture (now defunct) co-founder Rahul Chandra and Kalaari Capital’s Bala Srinivasa. Sharma also pledged money for a clean energy ‘Massive Fund’ along with erstwhile Seedfund partner Shailesh Vickram Singh.
The setting up of two new entities with the purpose of carrying out private investments by Sharma looks like an attempt to consolidate his portfolio and future bets. It remains to be seen if his past investments will now be moved to VSS Investco and VSS Holdings.
While we don’t see many entrepreneurs using separate entities to make personal investments, Snapdeal’s co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal set up Titan Capital to invest in very early-stage startups. According to its website, the firm has a portfolio of over 45 companies.